Illinois and Purdue have been in the same shaky boat since the late 2000’s. It has been a constant struggle for both programs to string together winning seasons throughout the last decade, and Big Ten Conference play has not been either of the team’s specialty.
Nevertheless, the two schools have built a rivalry that has standed the test of time and when the time comes around each season for the two to face-off once again, fans should be prepared for a competitive football game.
When Illinois heads to West Lafayette this season, the Illini will be playing with a chip on their shoulder. Last season’s matchup in Champaign ended in a heartbreaking fashion for the Illini. Illinois’ miss of a potential game-winning field goal sent the game to overtime, where Purdue went on to hit the ball straight through the uprights and sealed a 34-31 victory.
If there is one game this season starting quarterback Chayce Crouch looks forward to playing the most, it could very well be against Purdue. In last year’s loss Crouch entered for an injured Wes Lunt and found his groove. He ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns, while also throwing for 147 yards. Crouch will remind himself of that performance as the game nears this season, and an offensive explosion could be in the Fighting Illini’s future.
While a victory over Purdue has not come easy the past few years, the Boilermakers are beginning their first season under new head coach Jeff Brohm, and there may be a lot of kinks to workout. However, the Illini do have to be weary of Brohm’s ability to score the football — his Western Kentucky team was the highest scoring offense in the nation in 2016.
Eventually the game will come around in early November, and Illinois should be in a good position to bring the Purdue Cannon back on the bus with them back to Champaign.